As we all know divorce is rough. Even if you’ve never been divorced surely you aren’t blind to the terrible possibilities. Mine was no exception. Add kids to the mix and it becomes an even more heartbreaking situation. Sprinkle in a new girlfriend for your soon-to-be ex husband and you’ve got disaster. Well at least I did.
My ex-husband and I were best friends. We dated since age 18 and 20. Got married at 21 and 23. Very young and ill-equipped to handle the challenges life brings to a marriage. He saw me through so much tragedy in my early twenties that I felt like I had to marry him. Because at the time, I didn’t know another man who would have stuck around through all the scary things I had been through. While I loved him, I wasn’t yet ready for marriage. I just felt like I owed him. Rookie mistake I guess.
After the birth of our daughter we started changing. Or at least I did. Kids tend to affect people that way. We started growing apart. I felt like I was raising him along with our new baby. Fights ensued between us until one day I said those 4 words. I. Want. A. Divorce. That was it, we were separated. Forced to live in the same house until our lease was up, we were separated but stuck together. Both being immature, lacking insight and guidance he chose not to work on making the marriage better and in hopes of getting his attention I went and sought the attention of another man. Hoping to make him realize that he was losing me. Obviously, that didn’t work. Looking back, I’m sure it ripped his heart out and it was definitely not the way to go about things.
A year after our separation our lease was up. We moved to our own places. Still very much dependent on one another. Our finances were still intertwined and lets face it there’s a comfort zone that’s so hard to leave when that’s the only person you’ve been with since age 18 and 20 for him. Sleeping in separate homes and sharing time with our daughter seemed to get his attention though. Within 3 months he wanted to work on things. However, at that point I was involved with someone else and not emotionally present in our marriage anymore. I turned him down. After a long discussion, we agreed to stay friends and co-parent our daughter together. That worked for about 8 months.
He had a girlfriend throughout that 8 month period. Him and I managed to remain close. THEN, his girlfriend became pregnant. DUN DUN DUN! My ex came to me scared. Not knowing what to do. I promised him that no matter what happens I would help him in any way that I can. Telling him that between the 3 of us, everything would be ok. Or would it be? Spoiler Alert: It wasn’t going to be ok. I think that’s the last normal interaction I had with him.
Here’s what happened..
- Two months into his girlfriends’ pregnancy him and I were having blow out fights, leading up to a massive one at his house a month later.
- Five months in, he stopped calling our daughter, coming to see her and started skipping out on upholding his financial responsibilities.
- Four months after that, at 7am on a Monday morning, the Garfield Police were at my door to arrest me for harassment.
My my that escalated quickly.
Harassment! I sent my ex a letter with a picture of our daughter, and items from our safe deposit box. Not saying the letter wasn’t filled with sarcasm but it certainly didn’t qualify as harassment. In any case, the cops were decent enough to allow me to get my daughter to school before going to the station. Otherwise my sweet baby would have been placed with DYFS since her father was now an absentee parent. My heart was in pieces. It cemented the fact that I was in the middle of a nasty divorce. After fingerprints, mug shots and posting bail, I went home and cried my eyes out. Partly because I was livid and partly because I started mourning my best friend.
After hiring a second lawyer, all harassment charges were unfounded and dropped. My ex not showing up for court certainly made him look stupid. Then in September of 2012, with the help of my divorce attorney, our divorce was final! After months of stress, being arrested, custody hearings and my ex trying to take my daughter from daycare without my knowing, it was over! Good Riddance!
Now I see him 1-3 times per year in court. Usually when he gets arrested for not paying child support. Which is where I will be tomorrow. He hasn’t seen our daughter in 4 years and now she barely asks about him because she has a wonderful man who fills the void for her. My ex has alienated everyone. Including his own immediate family. It is a gut wrenching situation all the way around. Yet when I look at him, sitting in his orange jumpsuit at the defendant table, I pity him. I wonder where the person I used to know so well went. Because I don’t carry the level of anger that I used to, I wish he finds growth and peace within himself to do what’s right.
My only true interest now is fighting for my daughter. So when the judge asks me if I have anything to say, its game on because there’s no emotions allowed in the courtroom. If you don’t cry for her then you don’t deserve a tear either. Not anymore. I will ALWAYS be present at the court hearings to make sure mine and my husbands’ daughter gets what is owed to her.
We tried to be nice but someone else had other plans for us and you let it happen. What a shame.